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Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath all set to pop the population bubble

For what looks unavoidable yet unfortunate from the perspective of maintaining the population stabilisation in political terms is controlling the Indian population in states like Uttar Pradesh and Assam which is certain and need of the hour.

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state has rolled out a controversial bill for curbing population growth, thereby rubbing the wounds of various communities over varied concerns of its nature and implementation.

States have enforced the two-child norm in order to strike a balance in population, anyone who violates these norms to have more than two children cannot be elected or nominated to Panchayat and other local bodies’ elections. In a few States, the policy has prohibited persons with more than two children from serving in government jobs or availing benefits of various government schemes.
However, it is to be noted that this has led to a massive hue and cry and states conduct the implementation of the two-child norm in different aspects as per their whims and fancies.

While the debate goes on over population overspill and vice versa, a section of economists argue the otherwise stating that over the years India’s youth outburst may prove to be an advantage as compared to western countries where the hoary heads of the their population put an unsustainable burden on their respective economies.

The state of Uttar Pradesh has for long now faced real challenge and is known well for surging crimes, depriving development indices and precarious governance.

The contentious bill, The Uttar Pradesh Population Policy 2021-2030, launched by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on World Population Day has provoked an uproar igniting debates far and across.

The policy aims to bring down the total fertility rate among women to 2.1 by 2026 and to 1.9 by 2030 — from the current rate of 2.7.

As per the policy, efforts will be made to increase accessibility of contraceptive measures under the family planning programme and provide a proper system for safe abortions. Provisions have been made to ensure health services for all and pay special attention to pregnant women, infants, sick newborns and children who are severely malnourished.

The main provisions of the bill include :

  • Efforts to increase the accessibility of contraceptive measures.
  • Programme and provide a proper system for safe abortion.
  • Focussing to reduce the newborns’ and maternal mortality rate.
  • Care of the elderly, and better management of education, health, and nutrition of adolescents aged between 11 to 19 years.
  • The provision of this legislation shall apply to a married couple where the boy is not less than 21 years of age and the girl is not less than 18.

The bill also provides for several incentives like out-of-turn promotions, two extra increments, paternity leave of 12 months with full salary and allowances, and 3 per cent increase in the employer’s contribution under the National Pension Scheme. Citizens who are not government employees will get benefits like rebates in taxes on water, housing, home loans, etc.

Other important provisions of the bill include setting up a state population fund and introducing population control as a compulsory subject in all secondary schools.

The Adityanath government uploaded the draft population control bill on its website, inviting suggestions till 19 July. If enacted, the bill’s provisions will come into force one year after its publication in the gazette.

The UP Law Commission, which has prepared the draft bill, has claimed that the policy will be voluntary and not forced upon anyone.

Considering the prima facie of the bill, the population bills seems to look rational placing its provisions to be sound and reasonable hoping to bring forth visibly improved outcomes but what raises questions is the timing over which the inspiration dawned upon CM Yogi Adityanath being coincidently aligned to the timeline of elections 2022?

Those baffled by the bill question the efficacy of the bill whether the state of Uttar Pradesh even need a two-child rule considering the official counts of the growth curve being flattened.

Doubts surface as to why the focus has not shifted in redeveloping of the state’s education and health systems amid pandemic?
Will the bill surge unsafe and sex-selective abortions in an environment which is men driven and deep-rooted in misogyny?

The State, The Leader and The Bill in the given time frame are topics that stand open to debate and are unforeseeable, only time will unfold what the bill holds for the state of Uttar Pradesh and its inhabitants.

– Marilyn Ravi, NMTV News

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